Friday, September 6, 2013
Not So Crazy
There’s not a lot you can do if you hurt your back. You can’t ride the horses. Well, I could ride the horses if pain was my only concern. I can take pain if I’m motivated enough. I practically dropped my babies in a field when I was giving birth. Not really. But almost. It was at a birthing center. Not in a hospital. It was an actual house that had a kitchen with cupboards and a bedroom with a double bed and a chenille bedspread. There were only midwives. No doctors. I don’t think there was even a Tylenol in the medicine cabinet, never mind any kind of pain drugs.
I once had a colonoscopy while I was awake to save money. If you wanted to get put to sleep, you had to go to the hospital. But if you stayed awake, you could get it done in the doctor’s office and it was a lot cheaper. There was the nurse across the room, uncoiling what looked like a garden hose and passing it to the doctor who was on the other side and who was inserting it inside of me where I watched its travels on a little TV at the foot of the table. I saw the traces of lime green Jell-O in my colon which was my only meal in 24 hours. It looked fluorescent. Let’s put it this way. I haven’t eaten Jell-O since. And I’m not too fond of garden hoses.
If pain was the only factor, I’d be riding these horses. But I know that if the fractures are going to heal properly, I can’t use my back. Especially now that I am in menopause. Women lose bone density on a good day when they’re in menopause. We lose bone, we lose the ability to drop babies in birthing houses and hospitals, and we lose our car keys because we can’t think straight anymore. Sometimes we even lose our minds. You can ask any husband of a menopausal woman if she is still the girl he married or some pear-shaped woman he doesn’t recognize with her head in the freezer who he’s afraid might be searching for her gun in there.
Both my mother and my grandmother had osteoporosis but I’m pretty sure I don’t have it because I hit the ground hard and it was hard ground. It was like cement. Anyone would have broken bones. I think most people would have shattered like a teacup on a tile floor if they hit as hard as I did. So I think I have pretty good bones but I’m not so crazy that I don’t know that if I want to ride again, I have to let it heal.
Therefore I can’t open and close windows. They’re sticky.
This is a big problem in an old farmhouse with no air conditioning and thunderstorms blowing up in 60 seconds flat and then leaving just as fast. Open, close. Open, close. I have to call Kurt or Kelly. You use your back for everything! You don’t realize. Standing up from getting a pot out of the cabinet. Laundry baskets. Climbing in and out of the truck. Bags of groceries, even when they’re filled with cereal boxes and heads of lettuce. A gallon of milk. A pot of water from the sink to the stove. I can’t mow because it’s bumpy. I feel my back muscles strain when I lean down to tuck in the sheets around the bed. Of course there are all the things you expect that I can’t do anymore: emptying a bag of grain into the can, carrying a water bucket, lifting the saddle. Not that I was thinking of saddling up. But these things I was prepared for. I wasn’t prepared for not being able to put my socks on.
Kurt and Kelly help a lot but Kurt is working day and night and Kelly is working too, plus she has her kid things—4-H, FFA, barrel racing, practicing driving for her test, and of course the boyfriend. One of my neighbors asked me if that was Kelly outside painting the deck the other day. It was. She said every time she passes the house, she sees Kelly out there doing something—washing the trucks, digging a ditch in front of the barn, on the tractor, and now painting the deck. How much can I ask the kid to do?
They’re both helping me as much as they can but there’s still so much and I don’t like it when there are weeds in my petunias.
So I got out the weed-whacker. I am the weed-whacking queen and I thank god that at least I can do this because weed-whacking is one of my favorite things. You get a lot of bang for the buck with weed-whacking. When you are done, it really looks like you did something. It looks like you just got your hair cut or you baked a cake. First there’s nothing, then there’s something that you can’t help but notice. Unless, of course, you go to the girl who’s too afraid to take anything off because one time she gave Marion the Avon lady a bad haircut and that got all over town. You don’t think people are still buying Avon but they are. Down here that Skin-So-Soft is still a hot seller because we’ve got a mosquito problem. There’s only so much Deep Woods Off that you can use if you don’t want to worry about getting cancer or something. I can see using it once in a while but when you’re going out on the porch on a regular basis to smoke cigarettes and the mosquitoes are eating you alive, I go for the Skin-So-Soft. (Yes, I am aware of the contradiction of that statement.)
Back at the Amityville Horror House I weed-whacked continuously. I’d start on one end of the property and by the time I got to the other, I’d turn around and there’d be a jungle behind me and I’d have to start all over again. I can’t say weed-whacking there gave me any satisfaction. But I got a lot of experience. So I’m pretty handy with the thing. As long as Kurt starts it for me, I don’t have to use my back at all. I didn’t put the strap around my back, just held it with my arms, and stood straight. I should have done this years ago because stooping while weed-whacking with the strap around my back is probably what contributed to all the disc damage I’ve got. I was surprised at how well it worked—I wasn’t feeling any strain in my back at all. I felt it more when I was making the bed.
I weed-whacked the hell out of the place. I did around the house, the garden, the barn, the fences, the equipment that hasn’t moved in a year, the wood pile. I did all along the road; on both sides, even though one of the neighbors stopped by and said I didn’t have to do that. I let the head rest on the ground without shutting it off (because then I’d need Kurt to restart it), took off my goggles, removed my earplugs and said, “What was that?”
He said, “Let the public works guys do that. They’ll come around and mow.”
“Ah, thanks, but I kind of like doing it,” I said.
He looked at me like I was crazy. He doesn’t know me yet. He doesn’t know that I get colonoscopies while I’m awake. But I swear that I will not get on the horse.